Cyclone offense makes a reappearance


ISU guard Diante Garrett dribbles the ball as Nebraska guard Brandon Richardson defends. Garrett scored 17 points and tallied nine assists in the overtime win over the Cornhuskers.

Jake Lovett

Iowa State’s struggles started more than a month ago in Lincoln, Neb.

A 63-62 loss at Nebraska started a stretch of 12 losses in 13 games for the Cyclones, many of which slipped away in the final minutes.

Saturday, though, first-year coach Fred Hoiberg’s team came out on the other end, winning an 83-82 thriller in overtime over the Cornhuskers and ending a 10-game losing streak.

“They got a nice basketball team. The bounces just haven’t gone their way,” said Nebraska coach Doc Sadler. “They made plays when they needed to make them.”

Nebraska guard Lance Jeter sealed the Jan. 8 matchup between the two teams with a late steal and a last-second free throw. Saturday, he sent the game to overtime with a late three, and nearly stole another game with a last-second three in the extra period.

Jeter’s final score still left the Cornhuskers down one with just one second left to play.

Hoiberg’s team finally got a bounce.

“Didn’t seem like we had caught one break down the stretch this season,” Hoiberg said, “some of that due to our execution, some of that due to a bad bounce on the ball.”

The outcome of the teams’ second meeting wasn’t the only difference between the two.

Saturday, offenses ran rampant and both teams shot better than 47 percent from the field and 47 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Points were easy to come by, as eight players scored in double digits, including Jeter, who led all scorers with 27. All five Cyclone starters reached double digits, led by Diante Garrett, who also had nine assists to go along with his 17 points.

Iowa State’s clean play stretched beyond the scoreboard, as it only turned the ball over nine times in the game, tied for the team’s second-best total this season.

After the game, Sadler couldn’t pinpoint his team’s biggest defensive lapse.

“All of them,” Sadler said. “Penetration, offensive rebounding, transition was atrocious. You can’t do any of those things and beat a team on the road.”

On top of everything else, the Cyclones’ 83 points came against the Big 12’s best scoring defense, and was their highest output since their 86-85 loss to Kansas State on Feb. 5.

“I think it goes back to us not being at the level you need to be at to play defense in this league,” Sadler said. “All the things that we built our program on defensively … it didn’t click today.”

Hoiberg said the key difference offensively for the Cyclones was the presence of big man Jamie Vanderbeken, who returned to action after missing three games with a sprained ankle.

Vanderbeken scored the Cyclones’ first five points in overtime and led the team with 10 rebounds to go along with his 13 points in his first game since the Feb. 12 matchup with Kansas.

“Jamie was awesome, it’s good to have the big fella back,” Hoiberg said. “We shot 50 percent against one of the top defenses in the country, and a lot of that has to do with Jamie out there on the floor.”